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Photographer's Note

An absolutely mandatory part of the Benaras or Varanasi experience is to take an early morning boatride, starting out before sunrise, going through the early morning mist until the sun's rays cleared the air. It is at this time when the temples at the river front are bathed in a lovely hue of orange and the ghats are just beginning to bustle with various activities and rituals.

Every morning Varanasi attracts thousands of bathers, local as well as pilgrims, who come here to purify themselves by washing away their sins in the holy (but rather dirty) waters of river Ganga, as it is affectionately known here. As the sun moved upwards, more and more people walked on the ghats to have a dip in the Ganges, pray to sun god and perform morning meditations. Groups of men and woman walked into the river, took the customary holy dip, murmured prayers and climbed back up. Yogis sat cross-legged with rudraksha mala. Men and women squatted with eyes closed and hands held together in prayer. The ghats were live with activity.

The various ghats vary much in their character and appearance based on a number of factors such as when they were built, who was the benefactor behind it and which group of people uses it.

Vijayanagaram Ghat, is one of the important Ghats along the Ganges in Benaras or Varanasi. Named after the erstwhile Vijayanagar princely state of South India, the ruler of this princely state having provided the funds for the construction of this ghat in 1890, Vijayanagaram Ghat is immediately recognisable for the red-and-white stripes of the temple above it. The words "Vijayanagaram Ghat" is written in black over yellow paint close to the stairs. Another Ghat called 'Kedar Ghat' adjoins the Vijayanagaram Ghat. Located at the top of the Ghat is the Swami Karapatri Ashram. Swami Karpatriji was the most popular teacher of Advaita Vedanta tradition of Hindu philosophy in Varanasi in his lifetime

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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